Matthias Rößler - 23. August 2021

Trademarks in the European Union

Worldwide interest in EU trademarks

According to EUIPO, the sharp increase in EU trademark applications in 2020 was in particular due to the fact that China had been very active in filing trademark applications.

As a result, the share of Chinese trademark applications has increased from 9.5% (2019) to 16.2% (2020). In 2020 alone, more than 25% of all applications in Class 10 (medical apparatus and instruments) were received from Chinese applicants. The increase in applications from China is also significant in Class 9 (electrical apparatus; computers). (Source: EUIPO News, 24.2.21)

The EUIPO also sees the boom in online trading as part of the positive development in terms of EU trademark applications. "...all those who want to sell on major platforms need to show that they have protected their intellectual property." (Source: EUIPO Newsflash, 25.5.21)

Fact-checking: EU trademarks

1 trademark, 27 EU countries: With just one application, the owner is granted a uniform and EU-wide trademark protection. If a country joins the EU for the first time, the scope of protection of the EU trademark is automatically extended at no additional cost.

Centralised processing: The EU trademark system standardises and simplifies the EU-wide application and registration of a trademark, as all administrative issues are processed centrally via the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Cost and time savings: The possibility of filing an EU trademark application centrally with the EUIPO can save time and costs, as the trademark does not have to be applied for individually with the responsible national offices.

Uniform legal protection: An action in the case of trademark infringement can be brought before an EU trademark court and does not have to be pursued in individual EU countries. The decision taken by the national EU trademark court of a member state is then valid throughout the EU.

Regulatory use: In order not to lose the validity of an EU trademark, use in only one EU member state is sufficient.

Scope of protection: The registration of an EU trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of application and can be renewed as often as desired for a further 10 years.

About the relevance of trademark searches

A trademark application should always be preceded by a preliminary search. This is because the trademark office does not check whether the application for a trademark causes a conflict with existing identical or similar trademarks.

Registering a trademark without conducting a preliminary search beforehand risks being confronted with a warning letter or opposition proceedings from older trademark owners. Read our blog of May 27, 2019 for more information.

Brexit and the consequences for trademark law

With the Brexit, European Union Trademarks will no longer have protective effect in the UK. The IPO UK had cloned all registered EU trademarks and international registrations on 1.1.2021, so the trademark will now continue as a national trademark in the UK.

In the karo IP News of 23.12.2020 we had summarized how the Brexit will affect existing and future trademark and design protection rights.

Regarding Matthias Rößler:

Matthias Rößler, German and European Patent Attorney since 2003, studied mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen. He is co-founding partner of karo IP. A main focus of his practice is the management of large patent portfolios and the enforcement of bilateral litigation proceedings before patent offices and patent courts. His additional qualification as Master of Laws (LL.M.) qualifies him especially for multinational infringement matters in Europe.

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